Monthly Archives: August 2012
Many data centers sit on a lot of “cold storage” — servers containing terabytes of user data that must be retained but is rarely accessed, because users no longer need that data. While the servers are considered cold because they are rarely utilized, their hard drives are usually spinning at full speed although they are not serving data. The drives must keep rotating in case a user request actually requires retrieving data from disk, as spinning up a disk from sleep can take up to 30 seconds. In RAID configurations this time can be even longer if the HDDs in the RAID volume are staggered in their spin up to protect the power supply. Obviously, these latencies would translate into unacceptable wait times for a user who wishes to view a standard resolution photo or a spreadsheet.
Remember that third building that Facebook reportedly is building at its data center in Prineville, Oregon? Turns out that building isn’t a third regular data center, but a deep storage facility, according to Facebook execs on a tour of the Oregon data center. The building, which will potentially be 84,000 square feet, will be filled with disc or flash storage and will act as the “backup to the backup to the backup,” storage for the facility’s data, explained Facebook’s Ken Patchett.
Facebook continues to build out its infrastructure and add servers at a rapid rate.According to local reports, Facebook is adding a third small data center at its Prineville, Oregon facility, next to the two larger data centers already built. The current Prineville data centers are 334,000 square feet, while the new one will be 62,000 square feet. The new one also won’t add any jobs to the region.
Like most large data center operators, Facebook doesn’t disclose how many servers it has running in its data centers. But James Hamilton has used the company’s recent disclosures about its energy usage to do some interesting math to try and put together an estimate, which he has shared on his Perspectives blog.
Something extraordinary is happening at Facebook. The company is working on an idea that that could disrupt some of the largest enterprise tech companies in the world like IBM, HP, Dell. Facebook is leading a project that pushes hardware vendors into a new, and open-source way of building servers. It’s called the Open Compute Project. Its goal is to do for commercial hardware what Linux did for commercial software — change the way it is designed, built, sold and supported.
For Facebook, good data center design is all about efficiency — how efficiently we use energy, materials, and water, and how they tie together to bring about cost efficiency. We’ve previously shared information on energy and materials efficiency, and today we’re releasing our first water usage effectiveness (WUE) measurements and information on how we’ve achieved what we think is a strong level of efficiency in water use for cooling in the first building at our Prineville, Ore., data center (which we’ll call Prineville 1 here).
- Open Compute and vSphere 5:http://professionalvmware.com/2012/03/open-compute-platform-vsphere-5/
- The lab setup: http://professionalvmware.com/2012/04/vsphere-on-open-compute-part-1-lab-setup/